Show 87, September 6, 2014: McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream

Michael PalmerMcConnell’s Fine Ice Cream is a 70-year old iconic brand of super premium ice cream which is still based where it was founded in Santa Barbara. Michael Palmer (winemaker) and his wife Eva Ein (chef) purchased this heritage brand in 2012. A McConnell’s scoop shop recently opened in the Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles.

The late Jim McCoy owned McConnell’s from 1963 until he needed to sell the business due to ill health in 2012. It was very important to him that this be maintained as a family business based in Santa Barbara.

75 per cent of McConnell’s ingredients come from within 60 miles of Santa Barbara. They even use Guittard Chocolate, the premier chocolate maker in California. Eva is now the full-time ice cream maker.

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March 8: Brock Radke, Maui Brewing, Big Island Chocolate Festival, 800 Degress Pizzeria, Passmore Ranch, Robert Schueller

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Brock Radke, Food Editor, Las Vegas Weekly
Segment Three: Garrett Marrero, founder, Maui Brewing Co.
Segment Four: Farsheed Bonakdar, President, Kona Cacao Association
Segment Five: Executive Chef Anthony Carron, co-founder, 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria
Segment Six: Michael Passmore, Fish Farmer, Passmore Ranch Part One
Segment Seven: Michael Passmore, Fish Farmer, Passmore Ranch Part Two
Segment Eight: Robert Schueller, Produce Authority, Melissa’s / World Variety Produce, Inc.

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Let’s talk pure chocolate indulgence. We’ll be previewing the Big Island Chocolate Festival. Then it’s time for a Las Vegas dining update. Brock Radke, our Las Vegas insider, brings us up-to-date. There is a new Neapolitan pizzeria in town that’s generating long lines. The co-founder & executive chef provides the tasty details.

You’ve probably never tasted farm-raised fish like this unless you’ve dined at a Rick Moonen restaurant or at The Meadowood Restaurant. A purveyor to the best restaurants is now serving home chefs with fresh fish on a very limited basis. There is an incredible craft brewery success story in Maui and you’ll hear all about it. They actually package their premium beer in cans! Organic fruits and vegetables are top of the mind. Our resident produce expert, Robert Schueller (The Pastor of Produce) from Melissa’s, is back with an informative update.

All of this and lots more incredible deliciousness on Saturday’s show!

Brock Radke of Las Vegas WeeklyBrock Radke is our “in the know” guy in Las Vegas. He’s the respected Food editor for Las Vegas Weekly.

Brock brings us up-to-date on the Vegas dining scene. We’ll find out about the soon to open Linq on The Strip, the 411 on Giada De Laurentiis’ first restaurant in Las Vegas, and a collection of enticing new restaurants in Las Vegas’ Chinatown.

Garett Marrero of Maui Brewing CompanyMaui Brewing Co., founded by Garrett Marrero, is a craft brewery based in Maui, HI. As the largest authentic Hawaiian brewery, it currently has one brewery in Lahaina, and one brewpub in Kahana that creates more than 40 different styles on a rotating basis. In 2005 Maui Brewing Co. produced 400 barrels from the single brewpub and expanded into an additional brewery location in 2007, producing a little over 20,000 barrels in 2013.

MBC has remained consistent in the vision, “Handcrafted Ales & Lagers Brewed with Aloha.” The beers have been recognized worldwide for quality and innovation winning more than 100 medals in a short history. MBC was one of the first craft brewers to package their products in recyclable aluminum cans.

MBC is currently in construction to move production to a state-of-the-art brewery in Kihei.

It’s the only Hawaiian brewery with product available in the continental United States where the beer is actually brewed, and packaged, in Hawaii.

BIg Island Chocolate FestivalThe alluring, rich taste of chocolate, in both its sweet and savory forms, is showcased at the 3rd Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival, May 2 to 3 at the Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii. Headlining the event is “Mr. Chocolate,” Jacques Torres, Food Network celebrity and acclaimed pastry chef from New York. Also appearing is Donald Wressell of Guittard and Derek Poirier of Valrhona USA.

“The Big Island Chocolate Festival is a fantasyland of chocolate.” Says Kona Cacao Association President Farsheed Bonakdar (Bone-ak-dar.) “It inspires our chefs, encourages our island farmers to grow cacao and shows our chocolatiers that chocolate can be a viable business.” Farsheed Bonakdar of KCA is our guest.

Anthony Carron of 800 Degrees PizzaChef Anthony Carron is the creative force behind 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria which is growing rapidly with a devoted following. His background is in fine-dining. It started in Westwood in 2011. A “To-Go” branch was added in Westwood. Santa Monica recently opened. Las Vegas, Pasadena, Hollywood, and New York are on the horizon.

It’s thin crust pizza that follows the traditions established in Naples. What’s really different is that once you choose your toppings the pizza is then flash-cooked for about a minute in a wood-burning over at 800 degrees!

“800 Degrees strives to honor the tradition of classic Neapolitan pizza where the integrity of handcrafted ingredients is paramount. We use natural grown California tomatoes, our mozzarella is made for us every day right here in L.A., and our crust is crafted in house from only Italian flour, wild yeast, sea salt and filtered water.”

Michael Passmore of Passmore RanchThe always colorful Michael Passmore is a fish farmer in Northern California.

Passmore Ranch is a premium freshwater, sustainable fish ranch in California. They started modestly by selling live fish at Northern California farmers’ markets, and their quality and service quickly made them a premier purveyor for top restaurants and Michelin-starred chefs throughout the State and country.

They offer the freshest fish, aged, sized and delivered to order, almost as if chefs were pointing and saying, “I’ll take that one.” They continue to build new partnerships with some of the country’s best chefs, including renowned restaurateur Rick Moonen, three-star Michelin chef Christopher Kostow, Napa pioneer Cindy Pawlcyn, and Dallas chef and “Top Chef” Season 10 contestant John Tesar.

Passmore Ranch offers premium freshwater white sturgeon, black bass, striped bass, catfish, silver carp and trout, plus prized caviar. Most are available in any form a chef would like – live, filleted, special cuts and everything in between – coming straight, as the Passmore crew says, “fresh from our ranch to your kitchen.”

Michael Passmore speaks about the launch of Provisions. “Home Chefs, we’re very excited to bring you our fish and produce, fresh from our ranch to your kitchen just like we do with Michelin starred, James Beard awarded, and just plain great chefs in restaurants around the country.”

Rick Moonen of rm seafood in Las VegasMichael is joined by Chef Rick Moonen of rm Seafood and Rx Boiler Room in Las Vegas. Sustainable seafood is his specialty. Chef Moonen was at Passmore Ranch curing a batch of American caviar. He explains the process.

Organic fruits and vegetables are getting a lot of attention these days. With the fresh concern about GMOs in food, certified organic fruits and vegetables are, by definition, free of GMOs.

Robert Schueller of Melissa's World Variety ProduceOur resident produce expert, Robert Schueller of Melissa’s World Variety Produce, is back with us to discuss what’s new in organics. Melissa’s is the largest variety supplier of fresh organic produce in the USA. They have been distributing organic produce for over 16 years.

What’s hot? All varieties of organic Kale are at the top of the sales charts currently.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Brock Radke, Food Editor, Las Vegas Weekly
Segment Three: Garrett Marrero, founder, Maui Brewing Co.
Segment Four: Farsheed Bonakdar, President, Kona Cacao Association
Segment Five: Executive Chef Anthony Carron, co-founder, 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria
Segment Six: Michael Passmore, Fish Farmer, Passmore Ranch Part One
Segment Seven: Michael Passmore, Fish Farmer, Passmore Ranch Part Two
Segment Eight: Robert Schueller, Produce Authority, Melissa’s / World Variety Produce, Inc.

Show 51, December 7, 2013: Pastry Chef Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Co.

Donald WressellThere really is no finer pastry chef in America than the pleasantly low-key Donald Wressell. He was the opening executive pastry chef at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. This is the luxury property where the majority of the out-of-town Academy Award nominees stay leading up to the Academy Awards presentation at The Dolby Theater. Every year Chef Donald would create incredible individual chocolate show-pieces celebrating each of the “Best Picture” nominees. These elaborate pieces where then featured, via photography, in the Oscar coverage beamed across the globe.

Donald has competed in the most prestigious international pastry competitions and, most recently, has coached, too. He’s judged pastry chefs for serious competition shows on Food Network.

He’s currently the pastry chef for the proudly American chocolate company, Guittard Chocolate Co. Guittard is based in Burlingame but Chef Donald has a test kitchen and research facility here in Los Angeles. He also teaches classes for professional pastry chefs and candy makers. Guittard has been Family-owned for five generations.

Towards the end of the first quarter of 2014 he’ll create the sure to be dazzling Birthday Cake for The City of Beverly Hills’ 100th Anniversary. Chef Donald baked another cake spectacular for Beverly Hills’ Diamond Jubilee 25 years ago while he was at The Four Seasons.

Play

December 7: Carla Hall, Barbara Fairchild, Cookies for a Koz, Devon Espinosa, Donald Wressell, Brad A. Johnson, Dean Thomas

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Barbara Fairchild, former long-time Editor of Bon Appetit Magazine, educator, food journalist, and cookbook author Part One
Segment Three: Barbara Fairchild, former long-time Editor of Bon Appetit Magazine, educator, food journalist, and cookbook author Part Two
Segment Four: Carla Hall of ABC’s “The Chew” and Zov Karamardian of Zov’s Bistro in Tustin
Segment Five: Devon Espinosa, Bar Director at The Church Key
Segment Six: Pastry Chef Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Co.
Segment Seven: Brad A. Johnson, restaurant critic for The Orange County Register
Segment Eight: Chef Dean Thomas of Europa Village Winery and The Inn at Europa Village in Temecula

Lechon Porchetta by Susan ParkYou can aid the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and enjoy some great Filipino food. There is a huge Filipino community right here in Los Angeles County.

In addition to the high profile benefit for typhoon relief at The Church Key on the Sunset Strip on Sunday (which we’ll be talking about later in the show) there is a more populist fundraiser at Bamboo Bistro in Panorama City on Sunday, Dec. 15th from 4 to 8:00 p.m.

Pinoy food will be there in abundance expertly prepared by L.A. chefs including Chef Mayet Cristobal, the Executive Chef of the Getty Museum. She will be serving Beef Short Rib Adobo. The minimum donation is a modest $20 per adult and there will be live music.

Barbara FairchildThe long-time former editor of Bon Appetit Magazine, Barbara Fairchild, is back with us reporting from New York. Barbara is also an educator, best-selling cookbook author, food and travel journalist and much-in-demand speaker.

Barbara has recently had a couple of culinary excursions to the San Francisco Bay Area and will report on dining spots she enjoyed that merit your attention. She will also speak about an unusual evening she was part of honoring San Francisco’s STARS, a long-departed celebrity chef driven restaurant that, in it’s day, was the Spago of San Francisco. The proprietor/executive chef Jeremiah Tower (now a resident of Mexico) was in attendance.

Roberta Koz WilsonIt’s Holiday Time and our thoughts turn to incredible, fresh-baked, small batch, high-quality cookies as special gifts. That can only mean a chat with Roberta Wilson (jazz saxophonist great Dave Koz’s sister) the force behind Cookies for a Koz. Ten per cent of the proceeds are donated to the Starlight Children’s Foundation. Dave Koz is a Global Goodwill Ambassador for them.

Roberta’s and Dave’s late mother, Audrey, perfected the recipe for a great chocolate chip cookie and that’s the legacy of the company. The much-appreciated cookies were a door-opener all over town for the youthful Dave as his career was just beginning.

Carla HallFood fans know Chef Carla Hall as the “Hootie Hoo” lady and fan favorite from multiple seasons of Bravo’s “Top Chef.” She is now the co-host of ABC’s daytime lifetime series, “The Chew.” Last week “The Chew” celebrated their 500th episode and the show continues to gain in popularity. Carla also is the author of Cooking with Love: Comfort Food That Hugs You, newly available in paperback.

Carla is being honored by Zov Karamardian of Zov’s Bistro in Tustin at her Culinary Concert to benefit the James Beard Foundation on Sunday, February 9th. It’s a great holiday gift for that special foodie in your life.

That Sunday Carla and Zov will conduct a highly entertaining cooking class for the guests followed by a lavish lunch. Carla will be available to sign copies of her book and interact with the guests. It all starts at Noon.

For more info and to make reservations please call 714.838.8855 ext. 21

Devon EspinosaDevon Espinosa (a C-CAP graduate) is one of the rising young stars among the master bartenders in the West. He created the cocktail program at ink. and Pour Vous and he’s the bar chef for the new The Church Key on the Sunset Strip. Some of his cocktails are canned for freshness.

Devon is also one of the organizers of a high-profile benefit at The Church Key on Sunday, December 8 from 5 to 9:00 p.m. for Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts. An impressive line-up of chefs and bartenders are coming together to raise the vitally needed funds. Look for celebrity chefs Eric Greenspan, Kris Morningstar, Ray Garcia and Steve Samson among many others.

Donald WressellThere really is no finer pastry chef in America than the pleasantly low-key Donald Wressell. He was the opening executive pastry chef at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. This is the luxury property where the majority of the out-of-town Academy Award nominees stay. Every year Chef Donald would create incredible individual chocolate show-pieces celebrating each of the “Best Picture” nominees. These elaborate pieces where then featured, via photography, in the Oscar coverage beamed across the globe.

Donald has competed in the most prestigious international pastry competitions and, most recently, has coached, too. He’s judged pastry chefs for competition shows on Food Network.

He’s currently the pastry chef for the proudly American chocolate company, Guittard Chocolate Co. Guittard is based in Burlingame but Chef Donald has a test kitchen and research facility here in Los Angeles. He also teaches classes for professional pastry chefs and candy makers.

In January he’ll create the sure to be dazzling Birthday Cake for The City of Beverly Hills’ 100th Anniversary. He created another cake spectacular for Beverly Hills’ Diamond Jubilee 25 years ago while he was at The Four Seasons.

Blossom Restaurant at the Aria in Las VegasA few weeks ago Brad A. Johnson, the James Beard Award-winning restaurant critic for the Orange County Register, was with us to talk about his first 4-Star review. It’s Blossom restaurant at Aria Resort in Las Vegas.

Brad is back with us to explain his criteria for a 4-Star restaurant review and also talk about the new crop of ultra-luxe Chinese restaurants on The Strip. It’s some of the most elegant Chinese fine-dining outside of China and designed for highly discriminating (and wealthy) Chinese guests!

Dean ThomasChef Dean Thomas is the Executive Chef de Cuisine for the Europa Village Winery in Temecula and also serves as the Innkeeper for the Inn at Europa Village (along with his wife, Nicole.) His multi-course breakfasts, reserved exclusively for guests at The Inn, are unrivaled in the Valley. Many of the ingredients actually come from the vineyard property and change with the season. Chef Dean has extensive credentials as an executive chef for luxury hotel properties.

Chef Dean is the unofficial executive concierge for Wine Country Temecula. When it comes to directing guests to the wineries and restaurants best suited to the visitors’ wishes Dean’s advice is the gold standard.

Chef Dean shares with us the specifics on an independent restaurant in Temecula as well as a winery restaurant that are both on his highly recommended list. He also talks about a Slow Food event he is hosting on December 12th featuring local artisan food products and cooking demonstrations.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Barbara Fairchild, former long-time Editor of Bon Appetit Magazine, educator, food journalist, and cookbook author Part One
Segment Three: Barbara Fairchild, former long-time Editor of Bon Appetit Magazine, educator, food journalist, and cookbook author Part Two
Segment Four: Carla Hall of ABC’s “The Chew” and Zov Karamardian of Zov’s Bistro in Tustin
Segment Five: Devon Espinosa, Bar Director at The Church Key
Segment Six: Pastry Chef Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Co.
Segment Seven: Brad A. Johnson, restaurant critic for The Orange County Register
Segment Eight: Chef Dean Thomas of Europa Village Winery and The Inn at Europa Village in Temecula